Wednesday, March 30, 2005


We at Utah Self-Defense Instructors' Network (US-DIN) are deeply saddened at the senseless loss of life that occurred last week at Red Lake High School in Minnesota. This situation, like other recent mass shootings, is frustrating to us in that we believe they are largely preventable. This is yet another shooting in another place ignorantly perceived as safe because of signs and policies that prohibit weapons. Yet these places take little, if any, affirmative action to ensure safety, let alone allowing for lawful self-defense. They pay lip service to security procedures and personnel and place "feel good" signs restricting weapons.

These "victim disarmament zones" are actually worse than doing nothing as they take the attention off the real problems. They further a sense of complacency with respect to security. Ignorantly we assume a sign stating "No Guns Allowed" will protect us.

I look forward to an enlivening and enlarging of the debate regarding firearms in schools. US-DIN has never been more committed to maintaining the ability for lawful concealed carry in Utah's schools and elsewhere. Utah, as one of few states that allow concealed carry in schools, is watched carefully as a "laboratory" of sorts for concealed carry in these environments. Concealed weapons have been allowed in schools since 1995 that has been recently re-enforced with legislation. We have also resisted efforts that would have mitigated lawful self-defense in schools and churches. Utah's and, for that matter, the nation's permit holders have proven they are safe and many times more law-abiding than the general public.

Such debate will certainly reveal the goal of the anti-self-defense groups which seek to promote their ideologically driven agenda by fear and untruths which fuel and perpetuate the public's misunderstanding of the facts. These groups had an ideal situation at Red Lake High School:

* No guns allowed per Minnesota and tribal law.
* A guard and metal detectors present at entrance.
* The shooter was on home study, barred from school grounds.
* He was too young to own, let alone possess, firearms, per state and tribal law.
* The firearms were not obtained from a gun show.
* The firearms were legally registered and came from the home of a law enforcement officer.

What additional laws would have prevented this? There are some commonalities among the recent shootings in Wisconsin, Georgia and Minnesota:

* They all occurred in gun-free zones; 95 percent of those shot were not allowed to carry a firearm.
* Police were "targeted" because their weapons were visibly a threat.
* Shooters were able to kill unimpeded, knowing that there would be no return fire.

Once again our adversaries would seek to legislate, put up signs and enact "rules against firearms." These rules are only effective against that segment of the population that is inclined to follow them and do not influence compliance by someone bent on violence. We know by sad experience that signs and rules do nothing to ensure safety. Rather they ensure that that person's bent on violence will not be inhibited by "return fire" from someone acting in lawful self-defense.

Indeed we cannot state for a certainty what would have happened had an employee at Red Lake High School been allowed to carry a concealed firearm. However, we can state with absolute certainty what did happen when lawful concealed carry was disallowed. We encourage legislators in the states that disallow guns in schools to allow more lawful self-defense rather than subject their constituents to increasingly unsafe environments.

More here

Reality intrudes: "The massacre at a Wisconsin church service 10 days ago left Corey Graff outraged. Outraged at the loss of life, of course. But furious, too, at state legislators who have refused to grant citizens the right to carry concealed handguns. Graff plans to push the issue again this spring. This time, the Wisconsin activist hopes that lawmakers will imagine themselves in that church service - cowering, crying, wishing they had a gun at hand to defend themselves. "Hopefully something positive can come out of the tragedy," Graff said. With dozens of gun-related bills working their way through state legislatures around the country, activists on both sides of the issue have come to regard a recent spate of high-profile shootings as a catalyst to advance their causes. Deadly shootings at courthouses in Atlanta and Tyler, Texas, the slaying of a judge's family in Chicago, a horrific weekend of violence in Philadelphia and the rampage at a church service in Brookfield, Wis., form an emotional backdrop to ongoing debates in a number of state capitols".

Background checks, watch lists don't work: "Should people lose rights because they are sympathetic to, but do not actually help, terrorist groups? Should law enforcement be the arbiter of those sympathizers who should be placed on 'watch lists?' ... despite all the fears generated, background checks simply aren't the solution. The Federal Brady Act has been in effect for 11 years and state background checks even longer. But despite all the academic research that has been done, a recent National Academy of Sciences report could not find any evidence -- not a single published academic study -- that background checks reduce any type of violent crime. Surely, it would be nice if these regulations worked. But it's hard to believe they will be any more successful stopping terrorists. Criminals and terrorists share a lot in common, starting with the fact that what they are doing is illegal."

Arkansas: Store owners shoot back at robbers, one killed: "Several suspects are still on the loose Tuesday night after police say they tried to rob two jewelry merchants in Little Rock Monday afternoon. Up to seven suspects were reportedly involved. Two are in custody, one was shot and killed, and three or four others are still on the loose. ... Police say the two men plus four or five others, tried to rob two jewelry merchants from Texas while at Cecil's Fine Jewelry in west Little Rock. ... A shootout began and the two merchants, who were also armed, shot back at the suspects. One suspect was hit in the shootout, dropped off near a local hospital, and later died."

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